It is seen to many as this fleeting esoteric concept but in reality it is quite simple. The best definition of success I have ever seen, I found while listening to ‘The Strangest Secret’ by Earl Nightingale, a famous radio personality and author throughout the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s. He defines success as ‘the progressive realisation of a worthy ideal’. Whether that be an ideal/goal to be a bus driver or a banker or whether it’s to finish a book before the end of the month. In ‘The Strangest Secret’ he discusses the systematic nature of success and the mentality responsible for breeding inevitable success which is what I will explore.
I have done a lot of research on extremely successful people from all types of fields and what is clear is that there are many traits they share. They tend to be deaf to noise. They shake off setbacks as easily as they shake off dead-weight. They are exceptionally good at creating and realising their goals through consistency, focus and pragmatism. Pragmatism is one of the most overused yet underrated concepts to date. What I take mainly from the concept is the focus on practicality. Fantasy should fuel reality, not cloud it. Dream big but dream pragmatically. It is easy to get caught up with ideals and to lose sight of reality. This is detrimental as it extremely impacts your ability to adapt.
What I have found interesting about personal growth is that for me, it tends to follow extremely difficult times as I am sure you can agree. The feeling of growth or perhaps increased mental clarity comes from a conscious or subconscious effort to evaluate your situation and adapt. To grow abundantly you have to be completely open and critically honest with yourself. What happened? What can I change to ensure things improve? In essence, you go back to the drawing board: you debrief, you reset. Obviously, it is not that easy, we are not machines. It is common to use temporary vices to sooth pain but one thing we don’t see without hindsight is that vices are good today but too often divisive tomorrow. Life can be hard but failure to adapt appropriately makes it harder for longer. Don’t wallow. Assess, adapt, plan and progress.
Consistency and hard work beats talent 99% of the time. You cannot afford to not work on your craft because with 7.4 billion people around the world, you can guarantee there will always be someone smarter, more talented or with more resources than yourself. However, preparation is the only thing you can guarantee you can’t be number 2 in. Be consistent, be relentless and be prepared. Preparation is vital because opportunity is everywhere in every possible form. The elevator pitch is a great an example of perfect preparation. You are in the same lift as a potentially life changing person who can transform your idea into reality. Could you convince them to help you in 30 seconds? This is the level of preparation needed. Don’t just have ideas, nourish and nurture them constantly.
Being prepared puts us in best stead to seize opportunities. With opportunities, the more you take, the more you get. Do new things, travel, explore, take risks: even if it seems the majority don’t pan out. Have you noticed how some of the most successful people when interviewed tend to answer most of their questions with stories? It’s the knowledge gained from their experiences which makes them seem so interesting charismatic and intelligent. The more you do or have done fundamentally makes you more relatable. Relatability is easily of the most underrated traits. It is pivotal in creating and building relationships in not only a personal sense but more critically in a professional sense. You could meet what could turn out to be a very important personal to you through the most unexpected commonality you both share.
Success is what you consider it to be, it is the progressive attempt to realise it. It’s not about having x amount of zeros in your account. The riches are often glamorised but the struggle never is. Don’t be afraid of constant failure, it often paves the way for success. People always talk about the pursuit of happiness but never the happiness of pursuit. Success is more in the journey than in the destination. Listen to and observe your environment, live life fully, have hobbies and work as if failure was impossible. Be prepared for life’s opportunities by being relentless and watch what will seem like your luck increase. Inevitably with your goals, your visions, your ideas, write them down and share them. It’s okay to dream big, be positive-minded but more importantly be proactive.
Ideas are priceless in fruition but worthless with inaction.
By Ife Okonkwo